Profile: Rebecca Ottinger '15
Major/minor: Hispanic Studies Major, Education Studies Minor
Study abroad program: IES/ Granada (Academic Year 2013-2014)
Reason you chose this program: I wanted to study abroad specifically in Granada, Spain to learn more about the long history, and IES Granada was a great way to have the support of the American program while the staff really pushed us to immerse into the culture and offered great classes taught by Spanish professors.
Why did you choose to study abroad when you did: I wanted to really delve into one culture's society and lifestyle, and going for the full year gave me that opportunity. I was also able to tremendously improve my understanding of the Spanish language by being immersed in the culture for a full academic year of college.
Favorite class(es): Flamenco through IES was a really unique experience. We learned some traditional steps as well as some of the history of flamenco. My Latin American Literature class at the University of Granada was also incredible, a class of about 60 Spanish and international students and with an inspirational professor.
Housing situation: I was with a host mom first semester and second semester I had roommates from the US, Spain and Morocco, which was so much fun and full of dinner parties and discussions.
Best memory: Going with the Armilla band (I played cello in a band from a town right outside of the city) to play a concert in a beautiful tiny church in a very tiny village at the top of a mountain. There were hundreds of olive and almond trees, and after the concert the whole band went for tapas.
Greatest challenge: Accepting that I did have expectations of studying abroad (my host family situation and classes I could take for example) without having realized it before, and letting it to go in order to fully enjoy my experience.
What you know now that you didn't know before: That you are the biggest obstacle standing in your way of new, exciting, and enriching experiences. At the beginning, I was embarrassed to speak in Spanish, but as time went on I learned that I was the only person really judging. And that lemon fanta is delicious!
Fact about (country) that you think people would be surprised to learn: Although everyone in Spain does take a ‘siesta' break from about 2-4/5 p.m., most don't actually take siestas but go home to eat and relax and then go back to work until anywhere from 8 - 10 p.m.